@PumpUpThaVolume: Episode022 - Holiday
Previous: Episode021 - Longevity
♬Liner Notes♬: It's amazing how thematically cohesive these episodes can be - Episode020 was really hip-hop heavy, but this week's show features some beautiful, new Americana sounds. It can be so powerful when artists and curators can come together and give the people what they want - and even more importantly what we need! It's even better when a lot of this week's music comes from right here in the Pacific Northwest like Seapony, Poor Moon, Mountain Goats and out lead-off track from Fort Union. Plus, there's more new music from Divine Fits, amazing 21st century Afro-beats from The Very Best (thanks for the RT!), Calexico, Dan Deacon and more... This is a good one, folks!
Note: Song source KEXP says about this Seattle/Portland band: "Fort Union are quite literally a garage band. Recording in a Seattle garage with minimal equipment and a laptop, Jace Krause and Jake Rohr, formerly of Friday Mile, set out to write music that embodied the honest nature of music unfiltered by studios and labels and that went against what they perceived to be the “guy with a guitar” music scene in Seattle, reminding us that sometimes it’s okay to just chill out a little. “Kingdom” accomplishes just that, infusing breezy acoustic guitars, comforting electric riffs, and catchy vocals to a beautiful melody, creating the perfect late-summer Seattle soundtrack."
The Very Best
"I Wanna Go Away"
Moshi Moshi/Coop, 2012
Note: As the Guardian notes: "It might sound lazy to describe a record that sees a Swedish producer holing up in Malawi to make an album with a local singer that's big on sunny harmonies and feel-good factor as a reincarnation of Paul Simon's Graceland, quarter of a century on, but Johan Karlberg has said hearing that record at the age of five changed his life for ever. Since The Very Best's 2009 debut, The Warm Heart of Africa (a pretty big clue to how that one sounded, too, lay in its title), Etienne Tron has left the group, leaving Karlberg and his box of tricks (running Pro Tools and Ableton 8) and Esau Mwamwaya (who is still refused a visa to perform in the UK) to fashion its eclectic but life-affirming followup. MTMTMK is a clubbier offering – even featuring shades of dubstep – but there's also the occasional balafon (a type of wooden xylophone), contributions from Baaba Maal and Amadou and Mariam on Bantu and those shining vocals. Most of all, as with Graceland, it's not scared to be too pop: Bruno Mars co-wrote We OK, which also features a K'Naan vocal – plus the lyrics are of a sounder political hue than anything Simon essayed."
Note: In a pretty epic review, Pitchfork says: "A title like America promises an ambition-- a sweeping take on life in these United States, or at least one man's personal panoramic view of same-- that people may not be expecting from Dan Deacon. And yeah, that's unfair. As carefully constructed as the work of any highbrow electronic savant you'd care to name, Deacon's music alone should clearly paint him as a smart dude, a thinker, and a craftsman."
"It's Gonna Rain" (w/ Robert Plant)
Note: Rolling Stone writes: "On August 28th, Amy Cook will release Summer Skin, her follow-up to 2010's Let the Light In, on Roothouse Records. The album features guest appearances by such stars as Patti Griffin, Ben Kweller and Robert Plant. However, according to Cook, the duet with the Led Zeppelin frontman wasn't exactly planned. "Robert Plant had come to the studio with Patty [Griffin] and was sitting next to me in the control room and he said, 'Do you mind if I give it a go?'" Cook tells Rolling Stone. "I did not mind. He sang it a couple of times and it was perfect.""
"Cry For Judas"
Note: Stereogum says: "Earlier this month, we learned that the Mountain Goats have a new album called Transcendental Youth coming out in the fall. And today, the first track from the LP hits the internet. It’s called “Cry For Judas,” and it’s an expansively bouncy tune that, as promised, makes prominent use of a horn section, which is a little disorienting coming from this band. But good lord does it ever feel good to hear John Darnielle belting out shards of deeply-felt imagery and religious iconography again." And Wikipedia notes: "Transcendental Youth will be the fourteenth studio album by the Mountain Goats. The album focuses on outcasts, recluses, the mentally ill, and others struggling in ordinary society. The album is loosely unified around a group of people living in Washington state."
"Can't Change Me"
Note: The legendary No Depression journal writes: "Since Neko Case it’s been hard to find a woman on the country scene with such honesty and passion, that is until Lydia Loveless surfaced. Loveless was raised in a small Ohio town, in a house that was no stranger to touring musicians. Her father, an owner of a country music bar, would invite the talent to stay overnight before heading out to their next stop. However, the 21-year-old emerged into the punk scene before finding her distinct sound on the alt country circuit. These roots are evident in Lydia Loveless’ debut, “Indestructible Machine.”"
Note: The BBC has an advance review of the seventh album from Calexico and notes that the band has "been honing their sound since 1996, and today it’s instantly recognisable. The band’s core of Joey Burns and John Convertino have dabbled in styles from spaghetti western to surf rock, jazz to Romani and country to Mariachi, all tied together by instinctive songwriting and impeccable musicianship. Theirs is a world of dusty bars, desert towns and deep romance, and on Algiers it is as enjoyable and inviting as ever."
Shovels and Rope
'O' Be Joyful'
Note: Shovels and Rope's hometown Charleston City Paper in South Carolina writes: "'Something out of nothing.'It's become sort of a motto for Shovels and Rope, the country duo from Charleston who've spent the last couple of years tearing up barrooms across the continent with little more than a guitar, a junkyard drum kit, and four gritty fistfuls of outlaw spirit. The phrase makes an appearance in the climax of "Birmingham," the first song on the band's new studio album O' Be Joyful. In true American folk idiom, the song piles on the geographical name-dropping early and often — Mississippi Delta, Crescent City, Nickajack Lake, and, yes, Carolina — but the locations are also a literal part of the Shovels and Rope story. They are places from songwriter Cary Ann Hearst's childhood and from the band's relentless touring, milemarkers in a rearview mirror." They're even playing soon in my home state of West Virginia at the Quincy Hill Concert Series in Parkersburg!
"Put Me On" (Live at KCRW)
Astralwerks/Secret City Records, 2012
Note: KCRW says: "Toronto-based Diamond Rings recently previewed tracks from their new album, Free Dimensional, during a live session on Morning Becomes Eclectic." Meanwhile, Exclaim! writes that: "As for the record, which drops October 23 through Secret City Records, the 10-song affair was co-produced between O'Regan and Montreal-based studio dude Damian Taylor (Björk, Austra), and is said to feature more electronic touches to it than Diamond Rings 2010 debut Special Affections."
"My Love Is Real"
'A Thing Called Divine Fits'
Note: We first heard from 'supergroup' Divine Fits two weeks ago on Episode020 - Warm And Easy. This week, we hear another track from the debut album and Rolling Stone notes: "Spoon's Britt Daniel and Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner are both true coffee achievers: high-energy dudes who tend to write tightly wound songs. So it's no shock that their side band is a genuine synthesis. Daniel's sharp guitar and Boeckner's drone-y keyboard come together on jittery jags that gain urgency by feeling knocked out..."
Ben Rosenbush and The Brighton
'A Wild Hunger'
Boom Bands, 2012
Note: "Ben Rosenbush & The Brighton consists of the namesake Minneapolis singer-songwriter and his orchestral-folk-rock bandmates... While the debut was dominated by songs of love and loss, the band’s sophomore effort, A Wild Hunger, finds a storytelling Rosenbush exploring more complex themes such as the lure of ambition, the fragility of hope, and the impending nature of change, as characters are often found struggling against the hungers of fate." 'A Wild Hunger' comes out September 6th.
Sub Pop, 2012
Note: Song source KCRW notes: "Fans of the Fleet Foxes' harmonic pop will enjoy Poor Moon, a side project from Christian Wargo, along with his long-time friends Casey Wescott and brothers Ian and Peter Murray. Their full-length self-titled debut features this treat." We first heard from Poor Moon way back on Episode004 - Young Bucks, but their self-titled full-length just came out this week on Fleet Foxes' home of Sub Pop. CoS says "the group strips away the bulk of the pristine harmonies that have become the trademark of their original outfit in favor of a lower-budget, faintly sinister retro-folk sound."
"What You Wanted"
Hardly Art, 2012
Note: Finishing up with another Pacific Northwest band, Seattle's Seapony has their sophomore release 'Falling' set for release on 9/11 by Hardly Art. Girl About Town writes: ""What You Wanted" is an upbeat, fuzz-toned, bright and melodious pop number that sets the stage for their forthcoming full-length. Weidl's light and breathy vocals are already sounding more forward in the mix, and Danny Rowland's perfectly pop-coiffed jangle-guitar has the strength and agility of their live set. The new album was recorded at Dub Narcotic Studios..." And it was mixed by Kramer - what more could you ask for?
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(Thanks again to @TheUdog, @KEXP, @KCRW, @TheCurrent and you!)